Boost for unique heart disease research

University of Queensland researchers are developing a new targeted approach to help combat one of Australia's biggest medical problems - cardiovascular disease.

Professor Tom Marwick, a cardiologist with UQ's School of Medicine, is collaborating with Professor Simon Stewart, of the Baker Heart Research Institute, in a $4.5 million grant awarded by the National Health and Medical Research Council to study more effective strategies of treating patients at risk of cardiovascular disease or its complications.

“The biggest problem we have in treating cardiovascular disease is keeping the patient on track,” Professor Marwick said.

“We are aiming to use careful clinical and physiological testing to tailor varying levels of treatment intensity to individual patients.”

In this innovative approach to disease management, Professor Marwick's team will provide expertise in cutting-edge cardiovascular imaging techniques, to guide disease management programs – in which Professor Stewart is an international expert.

“One of our strengths in Australia and especially at UQ is a multi-disciplinary approach to research,” he said.

“To my knowledge no-one else is looking at such a unique approach to health care that could benefit the millions of people who suffer from cardiovascular disease.”

Professor Marwick said the program will address the three stages of the disease: at risk patients; early stage heart disease suffers; and those already experiencing heart failure.

“With the at risk and early stage patients we want help them keep on track with treatment and support to prevent the progression of the disease,” he said.

“And for those who have already experienced heart failure we want to use our tools to identify why they aren't responding to treatment and increase the degree of intensity of treatment to get on top of it.”

Professor Marwick's project was one of a number of NHMRC grants announced yesterday worth $124 million in total.

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